By Eric J. Grimm
Eddie Izzard’s timeless history lessons can be as depressing as they are funny, particularly in the volatile political climates of the 21st Century. In his new show, Force Majeure, absurdist bits about dictators and despots of the past mirror the comical and frightening rise of Donald Trump and the architects of his home country’s Brexit in ways that are often nerve wracking to process even when marvelling at Izzard’s prowess at vocal imitations and sly physical comedy. Here, the self-dubbed “action transvestite” calls on his audience to beef up on their history as all of this has happened before and could very likely happen again.
Izzard’s act continues to be well-mannered in its profane nature, focusing largely on his charmingly kooky interpretations of major events in world history. Toward the end of the first act, a delightful bit about Julius Caesar and the origin of the Caesar salad shows Izzard at his best with effortlessly smooth transitions between characters and unique commentary on power and populism. Izzard is less effective when he directly references Donald Trump. His frequent mentions of the Republican presidential candidate come off as pandering to the clearly anti-Trump crowd and don’t make for compelling comedy. Having suffered a stinging defeat in the UK’s recent referendum vote, however, Izzard’s message is a stern and admirable one: dangerous and stupid men ascending to power is often no laughing matter.
Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure played at the Beacon Theater on July 22 and 23rd and continues to tour the show around the world. http://www.eddieizzard.com/